Arthur and his knights are out in the forest, when the king notices someone through the trees. They discover a shrine to a restless spirit, a place with clothing hung all around a clearing. Merlin’s freaked out more than a little–Gaius says places like this are all cursed. Then a raven flies out, and Leon comments that’s the spirit … so now all is well. Except Elyan takes a drink from the well. I get the feeling he shouldn’t have done that. Cue the dead boy appearing in the water!
Back at Camelot, Merlin checks on Arthur as they unpack from the journey. Arthur assures the other man he’s fine, but we don’t believe him. Over dinner, Gaius tells Merlin the ribbons and flags at the shrine are meant as a warning. Anyone who disturbs the magic runs the risk of releasing the spirit. And guess what our pal Elyan did?
Elyan hears dripping in the croner of his dark room, so he gets up to investigate. The noise stops and Elyan heads back to bed. He turns again … still nothing. He goes to lie down, and ZOMG THE DEAD BOY’S STANDING THERE! Gwaine hears his friend shout and comes to investigate. When Gwaine kneels to the ground, Elyan sees the drowned boy behind him. The dead boy lifts a finger to his lips to silence the knight, and so he doesn’t tell Gwaine what he sees.
Once Gwaine leaves, Elyan goes a little bit crazy spreading salt in a circle at the foot of his bed. Gwaine offered salt to Merlin earlier as a protection for Arthur, so I suppose Elyan’s thinking this will help him out. Better than nothing I guess.
Merlin finds Arthur asleep in his food and scares him awake. Arthur tries to say he was reading, and against Merlin’s questions merely says that as King he doesn’t need to answer to the servant.
Arthur begins training outside for the knights. A snide comment by Merlin nets the servant in a helmet holding a shield and serving as practice for the knights to strike. Arthur goes first, and then Elyan … who gets a little bit crazy with it.
The dead boy appears in the armory, and slowly walks toward Elyan with his arm extended and dripping. Elyan flips out a bit and then falls to the ground. Gwaine and Leon take him to Gaius, who agrees to not tell Arthur about Elyan’s condition. The knight’s not been himself since Gwen was banished, and neither Leon or Gwaine want Arthur to think Elyan’s loyalties divided. Gaius finds the salt circle beneath the bed, and appears thoroughly confused.
Merlin tries to advise Arthur to talk about Gwen’s banishment, but the king merely shouts at him to leave. When Merlin arrives back in the lab, Gaius reveals that he thinks Elyan is possessed by whatever spirit lived at the shrine.
Elyan is awoken by the dead boy, who wants Elyan to bring him peace. The only way to do that is to kill the king. Elyan readily agrees, but Arthur easily fights him off. The knight flees into the corridors, and Agravaine orders a search. Merlin then tells Arthur he thinks Elyan’s possessed by whatever lived at the shrine, otherwise why would he attack Arthur? The king of course intends to find that out. Which is great because Percival, Gwaine, and Leon quickly capture their erstwhile companion. Now we can get down to business.
Elyan is pitched into the dungeon, where his dead friend immediately visits. Dead boy is not happy with the knight.
Agravaine pushes for the death penalty against Elyan. However, Arthur says Merlin believes the knight was possessed. Agravaine thinks this a stoopid idea, and believes if Arthur lets Elyan go free he will appear weak.
Merlin and Gaius make plans to expel the spirit from Elyan’s body in order to save his life. However they have to break him out of the dungeon first, and knock him out because the knight can’t be trusted. Merlin uses magic to roll a barrel and lead the guards away. He breaks Elyan out post-haste and the pair escape Camelot for the woods.
They pause in the woods and Merlin offers Elyan the drugged water. The dead boy shakes his head at Elyan though, and the knight tries offering the water to Merlin instead. The wizard refuses, which of course is an immediate signal to Elyan things are wrong. He knocks Merlin out with a swift blow to the head.
Merlin’s back at Camelot, and he tells Gaius that he felt a presence just before Elyan knocked him out. Thankfully, Arthur’s been put under heavy guard since Elyan’s escape … so he’s pretty darn safe.
Gaius asks if Merlin can find the shrine again, and the young wizard says he’s not sure he wants to. However, the pair head to the shrine regardless to inspect the place and find out all they can about the spirit. Merlin soon finds the well, and we hear screaming and crying coming from within. He calls for Gaius, who joins him soon as he can.
Something terrible happened right around the well. There are druid markings all around as well as crossbow bolts. The massacre was Uther’s doing, and it’s Uther’s crime the spirit wants Arthur to pay for.
Merlin goes back to Arthur, who demands to know where the devil his servant has been all this time. Merlin says he was collecting herbs, but of course the king doesn’t believe him. Merlin takes the king’s plate out, and then he sees the fallen guard. He runs back to the door, but Elyan’s already inside and shooting guards with a crossbow.
A dripping Elyan attacks, and speaks in the dead boy’s voice when Arthur asks why he’s attacking. Merlin at last gains entrance to the room using magic. Arthur is about to kill Elyan, but a shouted warning from Merlin stays his hand. Elyan books it without delay. Merlin can hardly believe the king didn’t kill him. Me neither to be honest.
Agravaine informs Arthur that the knights are hunting down Elyan as they speak. After he leaves, Arthur speaks with Merlin and Gaius about the spirit possessing Elyan. Unfortunately, they might not have much choice beyond killing the poor guy. Arthur decides to get an early night, but orders Merlin to clean his armor as a way to atone for his little adventure in the woods.
Merlin finishes and then follows a cloaked figure–who turns out to be Arthur–into the woods. Arthur’s decided to face the spirit and grant him peace. Arthur reveals to Merlin that he was the one who led the raid, not Uther. The possessed Elyan appears and accuses Arthur of having blood on his hands.
Arthur kneels and admits fault in the attack on the druid camp. He issued the order to spare the women and children, but some men ignored him. He says he still hears the screams of the dying; and he recognizes nothing can change the horrors of that day. Arthur does however promise to make sure nothing like this happens again.
Possessed Elyan draws his sword. Arthur apologizes again … and the possessed knight drops his sword. He lifts Arthur to his feet, hugs him, and whispers “I forgive you.” With that, Elyan is freed from his ghostly stowaway. The day … it is saved.
At Camelot in the morning, Arthur asks after Elyan. Merlin comments on seeing the new emotional side of Arthur … and the king tells him to shut up because he’s as stupid as he is ugly. Merlin asks for a hug regardless, and so Arthur turns around and chases after him. Guess not, huh?
If you missed the previous episode, be sure to read ‘Merlin: Lancelot Du Lac’ recap.